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Outdoor Kitchens

Outdoor Kitchens
The ample counter, built-in grill, and sink are set apart from t
An outdoor kitchen can be as simple or elaborate as your taste and budget allow. A sink, counter, and barbecue grill -- portable or built-in -- are the basic elements. But under-counter refrigerators, prefab cooking islands, smokers, kitchen storage drawers and cabinets, bar-and-sink sets, and built-in counter-top blenders are common features -- and all are designed specifically for outdoor use. Outdoor fireplaces and pizza ovens are also popular. Many pre-built options are available, 

especially grilling islands, like this one from Home Depot.

1. Consider placement, it should be near your main entertaining spaces, but not block circulation 

or view corridors, as in the layout for Plan 48-642, shown here and at the top of this post. Make sure the actual cooking area is away from general traffic flow. 

2. Think about when it will be used and whether will you need shelter from sun or rain for comfortable cooking. If it will only be used during warm months it should be unobtrusive the rest of the year. 

3. Analyze your current indoor kitchen to see what works best regarding appliance placement; ask yourself how you would improve the work triangle for outdoors. Adequate counter space is essential and more important than having a sink -- you can always use the indoor kitchen one, if it's not too far away -- but you will always need space to set the food before and after grilling.

4. Materials and finishes need to be fire resistant but should complement the character of your exterior space. A very popular material is stone veneer, or "faux stone." The best examples 

are almost indistinguishable from real stone -- as shown in this elegant outdoor kitchen from El Dorado Stone -- but are much lighter and easier to use.

5. Remember night lighting: use indirect and ambient lighting for entertaining areas and task lighting for the cooking zone. Whenever possible, avoid spotlights that produce glare.

6. In some cases you may be able to situate an outdoor grilling area adjacent to your indoor kitchen  
so a pass-through or dedicated opening could allow you to have the best of both worlds, as shown in this example from Plan 496-14.

To see a collection of plans designed for outdoor living click here.

Outdoor Kitchens Inspiration

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